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Let's Identify Some Kitchen Gadgets

Annie has been an online writer for over seven years. Annie's articles often focus on cooking and kitchen supplies.

These odd kitchen tools serve many purposes.

These odd kitchen tools serve many purposes.

I really don't know why I started this collection, but maybe it was because about forty years ago I found the cutest little something or other and bought it for 15 cents. (By the way, when was the cent sign removed from the keyboard? It was quite handy!) Anyway, I placed this 'something' in a visible and very predominant place so that when someone came in the house they would see it.

My thought was that someone would then say, "Oh, that's a nice..." And then I would know what that thing was. Finally, someone mentioned that it looked like a tea bag holder. She explained that the tea bag was placed in the top and any liquid dripped into the bottom part. I guess it would work, but it could be just as messy as putting the used tea bag on the saucer.

Many unusual strainers can be found on eBay and elsewhere online, as well in thrift shops and at garage sales. I wanted to share my collection with you today.

This is the first gadget of my collection.

This is the first gadget of my collection.

Recent find and just identified as an ice cream scoop (Vermco. stainless steel; Japan).

Recent find and just identified as an ice cream scoop (Vermco. stainless steel; Japan).

The Next Finds

I didn't have much time over the years to go to garage sales or to thrift shops but, finally, I did find a couple of interesting items. I have yet to identify them. Sometimes these gadgets have a company name that helps. The first picture does; it is Vermco but, when I put in that name as a search, I had no real luck. Some items did come up on eBay but these were kitchen gadgets like knives, nothing that looked like my item. I even went through their completed listings section. My husband thought it could be a scoop to use on coconuts but I've searched that and got nothing even resembling it. Finally, a gadget like mine did come up on the internet and it was called an ice cream scoop but I do like the idea it could be used on coconuts.

Push the handles together, like one would do with tongs, causes the one to meet the other but ??

Push the handles together, like one would do with tongs, causes the one to meet the other but ??

The two ends must work together on the same food target.  The pointed end must peel or remove something but the other have two half moons about 1/4" apart.  The 'handle' is plastic or bakelite.

The two ends must work together on the same food target. The pointed end must peel or remove something but the other have two half moons about 1/4" apart. The 'handle' is plastic or bakelite.

The Two Items Pictured Above

The two items that I found (mentioned above) are very unusual and mysterious, at least to me. Neither have identifying marks of any kind and no family member or friend has an idea what they are for.

  1. Regarding the first one, the bottom left piece has a long slit in the metal. When the two pieces (top and bottom) are pushed together, the left large one goes through the separation. There is a hook on it to keep it from separating from the bottom. I hope that makes sense. While unique and well made, it is not particularly sturdy so it couldn't be used on firm foods. One person thought it could be for scraping cookie dough off the flat surface but I have no idea what it is used for so could not do a search.
  2. Regarding the second, the middle section looks like it might be wine and black bakelite. The half moon section is like a full circle that is split on the arc side. The other end is comes to a curved point. We thought it might be for separating the sections of a grapefruit with the one end and pulling a section out with the other. I've searched auction sites and other internet sites but cannot find any that has the half-moon end.
Ice crusher with an Irvinware incised stamp, a patent number, and the number 2 inside one handle.

Ice crusher with an Irvinware incised stamp, a patent number, and the number 2 inside one handle.

The Ice Crusher

I really do like this one and not just because I found out what it is used for. This item from a thrift shop and I could not resist it. It is so clever! After a few days, my husband said it was an ice cube crusher. We put a cube in and it was crushed easily. After checking eBay, we found that it was indeed an ice cube crusher. The two pieces "lock" together to crush the cube, when the handles are gripped together.

kitchen-gadgets-lets-identify-some

A Recent Purchase

I found this "thing" at Goodwill. The clerks and I discussed its purpose but the only idea anyone had was that it could hold a tomato for slicing, which would be quite a feat. The 'spikes' are in four rows which form a cross. The handle looks like a screwdriver handle. The metal ends are not sharp even though they become smaller in diameter about three-eighths of an inch from the end. Someone thought it might be a meat tenderizer. Even though I didn't know what it was for, I had to have it and it was only 49 cents. I'm still trying to learn what this little gem's purpose is.

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Knife Sharpener

EKCO  U.S.A. Painted wooden handle ... excellent condition!

EKCO U.S.A. Painted wooden handle ... excellent condition!

Help With Identification

I was looking at the above item when another customer saw me examining it and said it was a knife sharpener (her mother had one like it). I have several sharpeners but none like that so it did not occur to me. I was happy with the customer's assistance.

Slice-a-Slice and Other Gadgets

I've had the Slice-a-Slice for many years but did not look it up until today. It is a strange looking gadget and I'd be totally lost if it did not have the name on it. It is stainless steel and made in the USA and, from what I've read, these are considered vintage.

The idea is to make thin slices of bread out of regular thickness bread. The gadget is hinged on one end so that it opens and closes. The inside rough punctures are to hold the bread in place when slicing through it with a thin sharp knife. They were probably useful before sliced bread or when making bread at home.

Corn Cutter

We have had the corn cutter for many years ... probably we purchased it in the '70s or '80s. My husband said I must have used one growing up on the farm but I don't think so. My mother cut corn off with a knife and then used the back of the knife to scrape out the creamy interior. I was pretty adept with that method and, looking at the item pictured, don't believe I would have used it safely.

"Strainer"

I just found the 'strainer' at a thrift shop for .49. Although I've not used it, believe it would be wonderful with certain pan sizes. It is more compact than the colanders and easier to clean.

A Rare Find!

I have never seen a gadget like the one below.

Closed

Closed

Opened

Opened

A Garlic Press?

Here again, I've had this for some time. It is marked U.S.A. but that is all the information shown... no company or brand. I thought it might be a garlic press but it does not look like any of the dozens and dozens I looked at on the internet. While it is heavy stainless steel, I am not sure it would hold up for many many pressings. It hinges open and one side is flat. The other has bumps on the inside and dimples on the outside, no holes however. The two handles are pressed together and, when closed, it is about 2-1/2 inches from handle tip to the hinged side. I will keep trying to identify this attractive little gadget.

kitchen-gadgets-lets-identify-some

Not Sure About This Gadget

One might think this is a cookie cutter and it could be. The bottom 'cutting' surface is not smooth, however, but has a patterned jagged edge. I don't remember where I found this but is interesting looking. There are no marks, brands, or stamping on this one.

Trudeau Herb Mincer

Trudeau Herb Mincer

Photos shows the inside of the 'container'.

Photos shows the inside of the 'container'.

Trudeau Herb Mincer

Though Trudeau's website has this as an herb mincer, I plan to see if it works for other things: lumpy powdered sugar, spreading cinnamon and brown sugar—the list could go on and on. The handle, of course, turns and the long thin spikes go through the slots in the flat bottom. The spikes barely fit through the slots but, when turning, the food item can sift down. It is really well made from stainless steel but there is no maker's mark of any kind. The flat bottom is hinged so that anything becomes jammed, clean out is easy.

Thanks to My Followers and Supporters

I have several more of the vintage gadgets but most of these are fairly common. Hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading about my finds.

Thanks for supporting my articles!

Questions & Answers

Question: Your site was an enjoyable find because I, too, have a problem identifying gadgets and I consider myself pretty much a gadget guru. Most of the things that I saw I kind of knew what they were for, but the one thing that is still a gigantic puzzle is the tongue looking instrument with the bowed out blade in your first picture. Have you ever found an answer to that?

Answer: Someone wrote that this is an ice cream scoop. Comments are below the articles, and many are helpful.

Question: I think the gadget you thought could be a garlic press is a lemon wedge squeezer. What do you think?

Answer: Someone else suggested that also. Bet you are correct.

Question: What is a cake breaker?

Answer: I think it is a flat object with metal 'spines' extending down. Think of a comb. You might do a search and come up with a better picture.

Question: Also the garlic press is indeed a citrus wedge squeezer... ?

Answer: Thanks so much!!

Question: I was cleaning out my mom's cabinets and I came across a light yellow plastic cylinder about 6 inches with a corkscrew type plunger and at the bottom of the cylinder is a 4-inch slit. What could this kitchen gadget be?

Answer: Could it be something used for icing? Is it heavy duty, perhaps to shape dough? Perhaps you could send a photo. I am not always successful in doing that myself but, if a had a copy, I could add it to my article.

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